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Dawn in the Valley


DAWN SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE WHITE TUB grooming herself; shaving, just having finished taking a long hot bath, cautiously, delicately, shaving in places she never would have thought to shave just one year ago like the small of her back, neck, stomach, arms, nipples, asshole. The steam in the bathroom is slowly rising around her, softening her skin, bringing a rosy color to her cheeks, fogging up the mirror and the chrome metal faucet in the tub. She starts remembering herself young in Florida, transfixed by the cloudiness growing over the bathtub’s faucet, unable to look away at anything else, her step dad washing her when she was 7, maybe younger, her step dad insisting that she call him Frank, “step dad” makes me sound old, hun, gently scrubbing her tiny perfectly smooth shoulders, combing her wet hair using the tangle-free spray, The Doors playing on the bathroom stereo, the faucet dull with the steam, strangely hypnotized by it, her step dad gently pinching her nipples, Dawn staring at the faucet but no longer seeing it, only feeling awkward on how to respond, is that an accident, why’s he pinching ‘em like that, is this normal, is this wrong, where’s mommy, his big, callous hand slowly moving down toward her stomach, then to her vagina and then everything goes black.

She puts on her lipstick, her T-Mobile sidekick going off, alerting her of two new messages - both from her agent; he’s getting impatient, panicking that she might be too high to do the shoot, call me back ASAP.

She is.

But a job’s a job and she needs the money but Frank won’t stop touching her seven-year old, maybe younger, body in her head and she takes the glass pipe to her thick red-painted lips, watches the glass bubble at the end of the pipe’s stem fill up with white smoke dissolving from the speed rocks, clouding the inside of the pipe; and she closes her eyes to feel it better and inhales the drug deeply, the image of the fogged up bathtub faucet from that day in Florida blending into the fogged up faucet in front of her, unable to make sense of it, gently confused by it, memories crashing into present images, everything whirling into each other, entangling emotion with imagery, with what’s in front, and letting the drug make everything soft and dull and sane.

She texts her agent back 20 minutes later. She’ll be downstairs in an hour, still getting dress, SMOOCH.

She takes the buttplug out of her ass (practiced by many to properly allow the asshole to prepare for harsh ass fucking), slaps herself in the face to stop herself from breaking down, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – like today. She pulls apart her razor and breaks loose one of the thin blades and slices her inner thighs, each sting giving her instant relief, sighing, instantly regretting that the marks might turn off the male performers and, shit, even cause the director to cancel the entire shoot (naw, probably not that far) but it’s working and she gets her soul ready for another gangbang scene for one of the valley porn studios.

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About Luis Rivas

Luis Rivas lives in Los Angeles, California. He was a telemarketer, construction worker, flower delivery driver, fast food cashier, sales clerk, non-profit canvasser, adult store and strip club manager and package handler/zip code sorter. His work has appeared in the following publications, some of which he contributes to...read more regularly: Zygote in My Coffee, Unlikely Stories, My Favorite Bullet, The Hold, Cherry Bleeds, Corium, Rural Messenger Press, Thieves Jargon, Origami Condom, Outsider Writers, Full of Crow, Counter Punch, Gloom Cupboard, where his is Poetry Editor and Red Fez, where he is author of the Last Days of Los Angeles column. He dropped out of Los Angeles Valley College where he was studying journalism to work full-time at a porn shop. Then he got fired. Now he has gone back to school, continuing his studies in journalism and Chicana/o Studies at California State University of Northridge and Los Angeles City College. He is currently building up his own literary website, peaceisillegal.com and plans on publishing a book on his youth. Once upon a time, he grew a beard. (There is evidence on the Internet.)

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